Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Fantastic Place - Finsbury Park (4)

If you are "old", you will remember this!
In 1954 BBC television moved from a "talking heads" news bulletin to something more "visual" The "moving pictures" were cine film transmitted, effectively, using a TV camera pointing at the film image - crude but effective.

The transmitting tower in the ancient clip above was at Alexandra Palace - always known as Ally Pally. In fact BBC News was broadcast from there until 1966. Ally Pally was where BBC televsion transmissions began.
The complex opened in 1873 and promptly burnt down.
It was equally promptly rebuild and, in 1900, became designated as a charitable trust to provide free access to all.
In 1980 there was another disastrous fire.
Restoration and rebuilding has continued in fits and starts since then, culminating in the re-opening of the Theatre in 2018.
Originally designed to seat 3000, its present capacity is a modest 900.

Throughout all this, the BBC tower remains although it has lost its distinctive spider spikes ...
... as technology has changed.
Also in 1873, the L N E R opened its branchline from Highgate to the Palace with a station on the north (rear) of the building.
Unlike the Southern Railway's magnificence at Crystal Palace, the L N E R offering was more modest ...
... with a similarly modest station building.
When the Udnerground absorbed the LNER line via Finchley, it ran in tunnel below the original Highgate Station leaving the Alexandra Palace line all on its lonesome.
Park Juntion, immediately north of Highgate West tunnel ...
... is lost amongst the entrance tracks to the Highgate Undergound depot. The tunnels are still there ...
... as, of course, is the rebuilt Highgate L N E R station (seen here looking towards tunnels and Park Junction) ...
... all ready for Undergound trains from Moorgate that never came.
The energetic explorer could walk the line from Finsbury Park park to just short of Highgate by starting off just north of the tennis courts in the park ...
... across the footbridge then fork right ...
... and from here to Holmesdale Road at the Highgate Station end you will be ambling along the trackbed of the branch line. You will cross over on over bridges ...
... spot the stationmaster's house at Stroud Green ...
... and the remnants of Crouch End.
The strange brickwork is a piece of "urban art" replacing the station building!
The walk ends on Holmesdale Road ...
Just round the corner from Highgate Station.
Only one short section of the trackbed of the Ally Pally branch itself is officially accessible between Cranley Gardens ...
... and Muswell Hill.
See map.
Along here you can get some spectacular view across London!
But, joy of joys, the station building at the terminus still stands and has been refurbished for charitable use.
You can almost close your eyes and imagine red Northern Line trains gliding along through the trees, whisking their passengers from Finsbury Park and Moorgate to funtime at Ally Pally.

Sadly, only a dream!

They've Change Their Mind - AGAIN!

The following letter has been circulated to "interested parties" by Giles Fearnley, boss of First Bus.

I am writing to update you on the future of First Bus.

This morning, FirstGroup has announced that it plans to sell all its North American businesses and return to being a UK-focused transport operator, with bus and rail services at its core.

FirstGroup will support First Bus in continuing to play a key role in supporting and stimulating growth across local and regional economies, whilst reducing the environmental impact of transport. The division grew over the last year and we continue to prioritise investment in local markets where our partners support our ambitions to deliver thriving and sustainable bus services.

It is heartening to see the growing recognition across the political spectrum and at all levels of government, that buses have a huge role to play in achieving social and environmental ambitions and improving local economies. In particular, we welcome the Government’s announcement in February of a new £5bn, five-year funding package which will include support for simpler fares, thousands of new green buses, improved routes and higher frequencies. We look forward to working with our partners in preparing compelling bids for these funds.

So fbb won't now be buying any of the First Bus companies!

 Next "explosive" blog : Thursday 12th March 


  1. That blue plaque mentions 'high definition television'. How the definition of 'high definition' has changed over 84 years!

  2. Andrew Kleissner11 March 2020 at 13:14

    Not to mention the size of the screens!

  3. "Opened by the LNER in 1873". Er, no. It was the Great Northern Railway until 1923. It was LNER by the time the Underground got involved.